If you’ve been reading my posts over the past 18 months, you know that I’ve been traveling the country for work. My current stop is in El Paso, Texas where everything is dry, brown, and windy. I began thinking about how my life translates to other stories and the most prominent one that comes to mind is that work that horticulturists and farmers do each and every day; they plant, transplant, and then harvest.
I feel like one of those plants. I move to a new city, leaving my home, and get transplanted to a new area, culture, and people. Eventually my job is done and I get to go home until the next job contract comes along. So what does any of this have to do with those of you diagnosed with a chronic or life-altering illness? Everything of course…
You were living your life, the way you thought it was supposed to be, and the doctor spelled out your diagnosis. In that moment, you were transplanted from the life you were living to the live you will now live. You world, your culture, and the people who become prominent in your life is changed. You’ve added new people to the fold like your medical team, possibly a spiritual director, therapist, or coach.
This transplantation truly is an uprooting. It displaces you from the comfort of life as a “healthy” person, and transplants you to the world of being a patient. Don’t get me wrong, you can definitely choose to live a life that is rich, meaningful, and full of love and laughter, but there’s always that one thing looming in the background that at times is distracting.
However, the flip side of being transplanted into a new situation, just like a plant, you get to expand your root system. You now have the opportunity to make choices about who you associate with and under what terms. You can explore what it means to wake up every day and have the capacity you still have (which may be just as it was prior to the diagnosis). It means you can explore your own belief system deeper and with a new sense of purpose as you till the soil of your soul.
I can tell you that living a transplanted happy life means you have to use some elbow grease. I find I have to make a focused effort to connect with local people in the community so I can find out where to go and what to do when I have time off. As far as my life as a patient is concerned, being transplanted into this world allows me to ask myself some very deep questions leaving out the obvious, why did this happen to me? I can make utilize my spiritual practice as a means of finding a way to make peace with the uprooting and transplanting process, especially since for now it’s a way of life.
What does your uprooting and replanting life look and feel like? How have you found ways to fertilize your life with what matters lessening the trauma of the diagnosis?